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Long-Tail Keywords: SEO Best Practices and Strategies

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TrioSEO - Connor Gillivan

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Think of SEO as a dart game. Your objective? Hitting the bullseye. 

However, the dartboard you’re aiming at is packed with long-tail keywords. While every section has value, long-tail keywords represent those high-scoring sweet spots. 

By integrating them, you can clinch top positions on Google and improve user experience. 

Let’s dive into the significance of long-tail SEO, understand its importance, and discover how to harness its potential effectively.

What Are Long Tail Keywords?

Let’s paint a clearer picture to set the stage. 

Consider head keywords as broad categories like “shoes” or “bags.” When you add details such as color, size, and design to these categories, you’ve created a long-tail keyword, for instance, “black leather boots size 9” or “denim handbag with floral print.”

At their core, long-tail keywords are detailed and often longer search phrases that users input into search engines. These phrases often signify that a user is considering purchasing or delving deeper into a subject. While they might not attract the massive traffic of broader keywords, they excel in relevance and precision.

TrioSEO - Long Tail Keywords - Why Are Long Tail Keywords Important for SEO

How Do Long Tail Keywords Work?

Long-tail keywords target specific, detailed search queries that users input into search engines, often when they have a clear idea of what they’re looking for or are closer to making a decision. 

Here’s a breakdown of how they function:

Specificity: Long-tail keywords are more specific than head keywords. For example, while “shoes” is a head keyword, “red leather running shoes size 10” is a long-tail keyword.

Lower Search Volume, Higher Conversion: These keywords typically have lower search volumes because they’re specific. However, this specificity often leads to higher conversion rates. A person searching for a very detailed term is likely closer to the point of purchase or a specific action than someone using a general search term.

Less Competition: Long-tail keywords often have less competition since they’re more specific. This can make them more accessible and more cost-effective to rank for, especially for newer websites or businesses with smaller budgets.

Intent Recognition: Search engines use long-tail keywords to understand user intent better. By identifying and analyzing these specific queries, search engines can provide more relevant results to users.

Cost-Effective for Paid Campaigns: In pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, long-tail keywords often have a lower cost-per-click (CPC) than broad terms because of reduced competition, which can lead to a better return on investment (ROI) for advertisers.

Enhanced User Experience: When content creators optimize their content for specific long-tail keywords, they’re more likely to address their audience’s exact needs or questions., which can lead to a better user experience, more extended page visits, and increased trust.

Long-tail keywords might not bring in massive amounts of traffic. Still, they attract a more targeted audience, leading to better engagement, higher conversions, and more efficient use of online marketing budgets.

How Many Words Are in a Long Tail Keyword?

There’s no strict rule about the length, but typically, a long tail keyword comprises three to four words — sometimes even more, depending on how specific you want it to be. 

However, what truly makes a keyword “long-tail” isn’t merely its word count; instead, it’s about being explicit and aimed at catering directly to specific user queries.

Don’t just think about adding quantity (more words) for creating long-tailed keywords; make sure you add quality too (relevance).

TrioSEO - Long Tail Keywords - Long-Tail Keyword Examples and Phrases

Why Are Long Tail Keywords Important for SEO?

While learning SEO, you’ll encounter long-tail keywords. But, why are they important for SEO?

Channeling Relevant Traffic: Expertly integrated long-tail keywords usher in purposeful visitors to your platform. Unlike casual browsers, these users know their desires and actively search for them online. By aligning your content with their precise searches, you’re more likely to attract an engaged and converting audience.

Augmenting SEO Metrics: Beyond facilitating conversions, long-tail keywords bolster the broader SEO framework. They play a part in diminishing bounce rates and prolonging user engagement. Such behavior signifies users finding resonant content, a favorable metric for Google’s algorithm.

Competitive Advantage: An often-overlooked benefit is the lower competition for these specific keywords on SERPs, especially when juxtaposed against broader keyword variants. Their distinct nature implies fewer contenders, rendering them a more accessible yet potent SEO frontier.

Given the merits of:

  • Catering to precise search objectives
  • Drawing meaningful web traffic
  • Enhancing SEO OKRs and benchmarks
  • Achieving competitive dominance

Long-tail keywords aren’t merely supplementary but essential for those genuinely committed to refining their SEO strategies.

In the following section, we’ll provide practical examples of these terms, clarifying their use for those venturing into the complex world of long-tail SEO.

Long-Tail Keyword Examples and Phrases

Let’s dive into long-tail keywords, illustrating their application through tangible examples.

Suppose you operate an online pet store specializing in dog wellness products. A broad, short-tail keyword could be “dog food.” 

While it garners substantial search volume, its general nature results in fierce competition and demands a more pinpointed approach. 

On the other hand, “organic dog food for diabetic dogs” demonstrates a long-tail keyword. It’s niche and attracts fewer searches, but a user employing this phrase in a search engine needs quality food for diabetic dogs.

Consider the competitive travel domain:

  • Short-tail: “New York Hotels”
  • Long-tail: “Affordable boutique hotels in Downtown New York”

Or, the fashion sector:

  • Short-tail: “Women’s shoes”
  • Long-tail: “Women’s black leather boots size 6”

These instances underscore that long-tail keywords provide deeper insight into user intent, enabling marketers to cater more effectively.

In essence, leveraging long-tail keywords aligns with your target audience’s precise language. 

TrioSEO - Long Tail Keywords - The Advantages of Long-Tail Keywords

The Advantages of Long-Tail Keywords

In SEO, the potency of long-tail keywords cannot be overstated.

These specific terms offer incredible benefits.

Let’s explore a few:

Higher Conversion Rates

Incorporating long-tail keywords in your content often pulls in an audience closely aligned with your offer. Such visitors typically have a clear purpose, seeking specific information or being on the cusp of a purchase. This targeted approach means a better likelihood of turning these visitors into customers, tapping into their advanced buying stages.

Reduced Ranking Competition

Many businesses flock to generalized terms, making short-tail keywords a battleground for ranking—however, long-tail keywords, due to their specialized nature. Hence, infusing these specific phrases into your SEO approach can bolster your chances of achieving prime search engine positions.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

Mastering the art of pinpointing impactful long-tail keywords is essential for an effective strategy. 

Here’s a five-step method to assist you in this endeavor.

Commence with Basic Keyword Research: The foundation of long-tail keyword discovery is rooted in traditional keyword research. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can offer insights into prevalent search terms. Even if these are primarily short-tail, they pave the way for your exploration.

Leverage Specialized Tools: There are myriad tools tailored for unearthing long-tail keywords. Noteworthy ones include Ubersuggest, SEOCockpit, and KWFinder, each equipped with features to help you uncover those niche-specific phrases.

Evaluate Competitors’ Keywords: Drawing inspiration from competitors can be enlightening. Platforms such as Semrush or Ahrefs can provide a glimpse into the long-tail keywords your rivals are leveraging.

Tap into Social Media Insights: Keeping an eye on trending topics within your niche on social media platforms can be a goldmine for relevant long-tail keyword prospects.

Scour Forums and Q&A Platforms: Spaces like Quora and Reddit offer real user questions and discussions. These conversations can be a treasure trove of potential long-tail keywords.

By amalgamating these methods, you can curate a robust list of long-tail keywords to amplify your SEO tactics.

TrioSEO - Long Tail Keywords - How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

Selecting the Right Long-Tail Keywords

With many potential long-tail keywords, the challenge lies in discerning the most potent ones. 

Here’s a roadmap to steer your selection:

Relevance: It’s paramount that your chosen long-tail keywords resonate with your content, ensuring visitors find what they’re after.

Search Volume: While long-tail keywords typically pull lower search volumes, ensure your choices have enough traction to bring organic traffic.

Competitiveness: The allure of long-tail keywords often lies in their reduced competition. Yet, always validate each keyword’s competitive landscape using tools like LongTailPro or Ahrefs.

Commercial Potential: Ascertain if the keyword embodies a buying intent. Opting for keywords that signal a readiness to purchase can be a game-changer, as this aligns with higher conversion propensities.

In essence, selecting long-tail keywords hinges on marrying relevance with adequate search volume, assessing competition, and gauging commercial intent.

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords

Here’s how to use long-tail keywords:

  1. Weave Them into Content Organically: Create content where long-tail keywords fit seamlessly. Prioritize their use in titles, headings, URLs, meta descriptions, and the main content.
  2. Craft Blogs Around Them: Construct blog topics based on these specific queries to cater directly to potential visitors.
  3. Boost Local SEO: If you operate locally, integrate geographically focused long-tails (e.g., “vegan pizza delivery in downtown Boston”).
  4. Use in Anchor Texts Judiciously: Embed these keywords in external and internal link anchor texts but avoid overstuffing to escape search engine penalties.

Knowing the value of long-tail keywords is one thing; deploying them is another. 

TrioSEO - Long Tail Keywords - Selecting the Right Long-Tail Keywords

Top Long-Tail Keyword Tools

  • Ahrefs: Popular amongst marketers, it boasts an extensive ‘Keyword Explorer.’
  • Keywords Everywhere: A browser extension that offers on-the-fly keyword insights.
  • KWFinder: Great for low-competition long-tail keywords with a user-friendly interface.
  • LongTailPro: Offers unique insights, including keyword profitability metrics.
  • SECockpit: Feature-rich but has a steeper learning curve.
  • Semrush: A multifaceted tool with a ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ for comprehensive keyword research.
  • Ubersuggest: Provides extensive keyword data free of charge.
  • Wordtracker: Focuses on ranking likelihood and conversion potential.
  • AnswerThePublic: Visualizes user queries, aiding in crafting relevant content.

Experiment with these tools to find what best suits your SEO needs.

Long-Tail vs. Short-Tail Keywords

Both are vital for a holistic SEO strategy. Short-tail keywords have higher volumes but are more competitive, suiting established businesses. In contrast, long-tails target precise user intent, bringing in relevant traffic, offering more content opportunities, and facing less competition.

Ultimately, a balanced mix of both, tailored to your goals, is ideal.

To learn more, visit our guide: Long Tail Keywords vs. Short Tail.


Long-tail keywords offer a precise targeting approach, carving a niche in a saturated market. Their strength lies in pinpointing audience needs, leading to higher conversion probabilities. Beyond simple SEO, they’re potent tools for comprehensive digital marketing.

As you strategize for improved search rankings, embrace long-tail keywords. Their adept use can be the difference between blending into the digital noise or shining brightly amidst the online crowd.

Here are a few more guides you might enjoy:

TrioSEO - Connor Gillivan

Want more traffic and leads? Turn your website into a traffic generation hub. Get started and we’ll conduct a free SEO audit to see if working together is a good fit. 

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Steven is the Co-founder & CEO of TrioSEO. His background is in large-scale blogging where he co-owned 40 websites and helped grow the portfolio to 7-figures within 3 years. Follow him on LinkedIn for daily SEO tips, tricks, and strategies.

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